Bonjour à tous! Soyez les bienvenus...
Quel plaisir d'être avec vous encore... As you may understand from the title, i am going to tell how i passed DELF B2 on February and how those who are currently studying for DELF B2 can do to achieve that diploma.
For those who has just decided to obtain...
- DELF B2 contains four parts. In order, these are Compréhension Orale (Listening), Compréhension Ecrite (Reading), Production Ecrite (Writing) and Production Orale (Speaking).
- The first three sections are held at once and it takes 3 hours. The speaking part is held at a different hour you are already appointed (sometimes the date may differ either). Usually, it lasts 30 minutes but depending on the concept of your subject or how many questions the evaluator asks, it may last a bit longer.
- In contrast to TOEFL or IELTS, all you have to do is just getting at least 50 points. When you pass it, it does not matter how much you got.
- They will already warn you but please bring a pen with you. Not a pencil.
About me, i had always been planning to obtain it when i was in Nice but when i got back to Istanbul, my sister encouraged me to obtain it when my French was still fresh. On my third day, i went to Institut Français just to ask the closest date. I remember that i apologized for my French-Turkish because of you know... Then, she said me that it was okay because she also spoke French (She already has to.). We spoke French all the time and when i got out, i had just registered for the exam on February and only 20 days were left...
You may expect me to say that i did not lose any time. But i did. I was already thinking in French (seriously, when you are an expat, you adapt to the environment much more quickly if you already speak the local language) and i was from somewhere where the accent was "different". So, all i had to do was just to learn how to write a formal letter in French, how to present the subject given and watching France 24 just not to lose my accent. Besides, the examples on the website of CIEP were extremely easy. So, i thought that it was a piece of cake and i only studied for writing and the speaking parts.
La Compréhension Orale (Listening)
This section contains two listenings. The speech in the first one is longer and faster. Also, you are allowed to listen to it twice. There is only one or two minutes of breather between the first turn and the second one. However, the speech in the second listening is relatively slower and shorter. Moreover, you are allowed to listen to it once.
In the last paragraph of the previous topic, i told you that i was used to Niçois accent, i was able to understand France 24 perfectly and the exercises on CIEP were much easier comparing to them and that is why i had no worries about the Listening part. But the fact was much more different. We were in a tiny classroom (where i took B1.3) and we were around 15 people excluding the supervisor. The listening part started and the person we had to listen to was speaking out loud and she was so fast that you could think that she had been so desperate to finish the interview immediately and go to the toilet. Moreover, our super clever supervisor had turned up the volume to the highest level and her voice resonated in that tiny class until the end. For this reason that i barely got the listening part.
So, all i can advise for compréhension orale is that:
- Instead of watching news channels, listen to the French radio stations (i prefer M Radio) because in radio programs, anchormen usually talk faster than those on TV. Here are some listening practices i can recommend from the fastest to the slowest: Radio commercials, radio programs, TV commercials, French films.
- As i observed, usually the French under 30 speaks faster than above 30. Furthermore, under 25 have their own slang. The point is, if you only want to be able to catch the phrases, you can hang out with them but please do not copy the way they speak. You will eventually have to learn it but it will not help you when it comes to job or master application or DELF.
- Please kindly ask your supervisor to make a soundcheck before the beginning of the exam.
La Compréhension Ecrite (Reading)
In my opinion, this section is the most cruel one. Why? Because you face with two newspaper articles and each one fulfills the whole page (on the left). On the next pages, you are obliged to respond two types of questions: those are responded with one word or one phrase and true-false questions.
Please remember that crossing the response in true-false questions is not enough. In order to get point, you have to cross the right answer and put the right quote to the left side. Even one of them is incorrect, your answer will be invalid. Probably that is why i obtained much less than i expected from this section.
My articles were about the dress code of anchormen and anchorwomen and télétravail (Freelance work).
La Production Ecrite (Writing)
Here, you are asked to write a formal letter in French. Usually, the fundamental is similar. For instance, you live in a small town in France and Rolling Stones will give a concert there. Then, the mayor wants to cut the trees in the forest next to the concert area in order to expand it. As a citizen, you are against it and you have to write a formal letter with at least (or around) 250 words to the city hall. Simply, the mayor wants to do something "profitable" and to do that, (s)he is willing to either destroy a place or abolish a local tradition and as an opponent, you kindly object.
Briefly, all you have to do is to apply four steps:
- Write the issue you are writing for.
- Tell the disadvantages of it.
- Kindly suggest what else could be done.
- Close with a paragraph which indicates kindness in a French formal letter. For example:
"En vous souhaitant un bon été, je vous prie d'agréer, Monsieur le Mairie, mes sentiments respectueux."
During the writing section, i was asked to write a formal letter with approximately 250 words to the mayor of my small town in France who was willing to turn the local newspaper to an electronic one. That was simple. I was a Niçois and the newspaper was Nice Matin. I gave the adresses i remember because it takes less time. And my arguments were old people and a possible decline in profits coming from the advertisements. I do not remember my recommendation specifically but i remember that i suggested some things assuming that Nice Matin, Var Matin and Monaco Matin were establishing a monopolistic competition in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (Side effects of being an economist! hahahaha). Oh by the way, the quote above is my closure paragraph.
But do not worry, you do not have to go into detail (otherwise, it would make much more than 250 words). Probably i could not restrain myself. Just keep in mind that either it is around or at least, please try not to exceed 290 words. You may go a little below. In the end, do not forget to count the words and write into the box below the page on the right side.
For more details, please search DELF B2 production ecrite or DELF B2 lettre formelle on Google and YouTube.
La production orale (Speaking)
According to you, the most intimidator part of the exam because you are a little bit frightened of speaking a foreign language and this section's format frightens you more.
But, is that so?
Please let me start with telling the format. At first, you go to the classroom where the interview will be held 30 minutes before your appointment. Then, one of your the two evaluators (i thought there would be only one but in fact, there were 2...) tells you that you have to select 2 reversed press clippings, you have to glance and you have to select one of them. Then, (s)he forwards you to another classroom where they will give you a sheet and 30 minutes to prepare (Do not try to be sneaky. They check your arrival.).
- You have to say the title of the article, the source and the release date.
- Tell the problémathique (the general idea discussed on the clipping) and summarize the article with only 2-3 phrases.
- Tell the advantages and disadvantages. If you are in favor, tell the advantages at last. Against, replace it with disadvantages. 2-3 items for each will be enough.
- Answer the question: Est-ce que vous êtes pour ou contre? (Are you in favor or against?) and explain why.
- Last but not least, they will interrogate you about the article. Afterwards, the subject of the interrogation will turn
For example, the two press clippings i had selected were about the inequality between men and women and "Cash registers vs. Automatic Cash registers". So, the first one was a really sensitive subject to discuss (including both evaluators were females) and 30 minutes would never be enough to prepare. That is why i selected no. 2. I was against automatic cash registers. I followed the first four steps and during the last step, i realized the subject had turned to Artificial Intelligence.
About the way i spoke
To be honest, i was anxious that day because i had seen somebody i dislike. But i did not bother because the evaluators in all likelihood would think that it was because of the exam itself. Because of my anxiety, i could not start on my natural speed. At the beginning, i was speaking with the written language by using "ne" in for example: Je ne pense pas, Nous etc. I even used Le Passé Simple! Because i did not know how cultivated or how natural i should have seemed. However, on the last step, i turned to my natural speed and to the daily language i use (it does not include the slang at all.) because i had to respond in the most efficient way.
P.S. - Please turn up your volume in order to be comprehensive and to seem more self confident. If you are a filthy smoker like me and if you want to pronounce -r correctly, please stop smoking up to 45 minutes before your appointment and take lots of mints.
Officially, DELF is the no. 1 French Language Proficiency exam in the entire world. But in contrast to language proficiency, it actually evaluates how intellectual you are in French except La Compréhension Orale. However, it is apparent that you have to obtain it for your BA, MA, or job application (definitely at least DELF B2). Yes, getting at least 50 points is enough. It does not matter after 50 points. But, if you want to guarantee your score, you must stop considering this thing like you are taking this to prove how well you speak French theoretically. Rather consider it like something challenging you about your intellectualism, creativity and how witty you are.